“Princess” Jasmine Parr, the eight-year-old daughter of Australian kickboxing champion John Wayne Parr, got into the ring for a fight Saturday night against Brisbane’s Georgina “Punch Out” Barton (7).
There was much controversy about the fight, sparking Parr’s father to defend the decision to allow his daughter to compete. He said that the girls would be kitted out with headgear, shin pads and 16-ounce gloves, and that this activity was no worse than other contact sports. “I think everyone’s got one life, so you may as well go it 100 percent,” he said.
Jasmine shed tears in one of the breaks between rounds of the three round fight, which ended in a draw. “I was sort of afraid when she kept kicking my leg,” she said.
Brain trauma experts were concerned about young children participating in the contact sport. Anna Petrou, Spokeswoman for Australian brain injury organization Synapse, said brain injury could be caused from minimal force and headgear would not protect someone completely. She stated “It doesn’t take a lot of force for the brain to be impacted… it might not be the initial impact but [they] could lose their balance and fall … which could impact them.”
Mr. Parr said “They’re little girls, the power behind their techniques isn’t going to be life-threatening, they’ll be lucky to get a bruise out of it. The girls have 16-ounce gloves, so it’s almost like hitting each other with pillows. Jasmine, who has been kickboxing since age three, wants to keep doing it. She said “It makes me feel really, really happy.”